Friday, October 3, 2008

Guest Blog: One Question All Interviewees Should Ask

Guest Blog by Brian Briggeman - Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.

Rick Greubel, International Group Vice President for Tyson Foods, delivered a thought provoking talk on globalization and what it means for agriculture to CASNR students on Thursday, October 2nd. Every college student should hear his answer to a question I posed.

Often I wonder if we, as a faculty and staff at OSU, do an adequate job discussing what it takes to be successful once a student takes a job and is working. During the Q&A session of Mr. Greubel’s talk, I decided to ask him his thoughts on what it takes to be successful once a student starts working. His response was, in my opinion, something all students and even people who are working should consider.

He said that when you start working, really immerse yourself in the job, the culture, the “ins-and-outs,” and the best way to do this is to really learn about your job while you are working. Just because you graduated from OSU doesn't mean learning has ceased. In fact, it probably only accelerates. Also, he said that you should try and identify your talents early and use them in your job because that will help you be successful. Success can be defined many ways but if you use your talents in your job, you will more than likely excel in your job and have fun in your job. Enjoying what you do, work or play, is a key to being happy.

So, how can you sum this all up and more importantly, how can you get a glimpse into a company before you accept their job offer? Ask one crucial question in the interview, “What will I learn if I go to work for your company?” What a simple question, but one that will tell you a lot about the company. Moreover, it will demonstrate to the interviewer that you really are interested, are engaged, and care about this job interview.

(Addition from Bailey: On August 19 I blogged about visiting former graduates at Koch Industries. Sitting at a table with four former graduates, Iasked them the one course that was the most useful in their career. It was unanimous: Dr. Briggeman's agricultural finance course. This implies two lessons. First, finance is a vital topic to our graduates. Second, if you want to know how to teach ag finance effectively, consult Brian Briggeman!)